Welcome to Charity Navigator's Blog!

The team from Charity Navigator, the nation's largest independent charity evaluator and leading donor advocate, shares their thoughts on emerging nonprofit-sector issues and offers tips to better inform your intelligent giving decisions.

Return to Main Site   |   Find a Charity   |   Receive Email Updates   |   Support Charity Navigator

Monday, August 26, 2019

Is Collaboration the Key to Nonprofit Success?

In Part 1 of this two-part series, we discuss why collaboration among nonprofits is essential to them efficiently achieving their missions. Stay tuned for Part 2 when we highlight a number of highly-rated charities who have identified innovative ways to work together to promote effective solutions to the issues they are addressing. 

We’re often inspired to support a charity based on their vision for a better world--one without hunger, homelessness, or disease. Organizations dare to imagine a day when these problems no longer exist and invite us to be part of the solution through our support.

But, tackling these issues can be difficult, if not impossible, when organizations lack sufficient resources. Many charities are striving to achieve their ambitious missions with limited staff and shoestring budgets. This often leads to splintered programs focused on alleviating symptoms indefinitely, rather than addressing the real root of the problem.

To have a meaningful impact, organizations must embrace collaboration and adopt a comprehensive, focused approach for tackling the issues they set out to address. Here’s why...

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Determining if a Charity has Your Best Interest (and the General Public's) in Mind

This guest post was contributed by our friend, James Townsend. He is an avid Charity Navigator user and community leader residing in Kansas City who is passionate about community organizing and inclusion.

The word charity holds high regard in the minds of most. It is associated with selflessness, helping those in need, and improving one’s community. While we'd like to think that every charity has good intentions for humanity, there are organizations that qualify as charities that, from your perspective, may not be inherently “good.” So, how does a discerning donor identify troubling “charities?”

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

New E-Filing Requirement Is A Major Win For Nonprofit Sector

The Taxpayer First Act of 2019, which was signed into law on July 1, 2019, will require all tax-exempt organizations required to file a Form 990-series return to e-file their return. This rule goes into effect with calendar year 2020 form filings; organizations with fiscal years beginning after July 2nd, 2019, will be required to file electronically with their 2020 returns, which would be for fiscal year ending 2021 for those organizations.

Here’s why this is a big win for the nonprofit sector…

Monday, August 19, 2019

Your Guide To Donating Everything

Charity Navigator has guides on everything surrounding in-kind donations, whether it be what to donate to your local animal shelter, food bank, or homeless shelter. Yet, tracking down each of these articles in the moment can feel like going through a virtual junk drawer.

Image result for junk drawer gif

So, to help with all that clutter, here is a one stop shop for all your donating needs:

Thursday, August 15, 2019

A Glimpse Into Charity Navigator's Advisory System

How do you know if your donation is used for the right reasons? 

Before I interned at Charity Navigator, this question had rarely come to mind.  I had always assumed that if I made a donation, it would be to an organization that I trusted to use my money wisely.  Even through my prior experience working for two other nonprofits, I never thought to ask questions like, “What percentage of an organization’s total expenses are spent on its programs?” or “How much does an organization need to spend in fundraising costs in order to raise $1?”  I began to realize how naive my thinking was, and just how little I knew on the topic of nonprofit excellence.  I became eager to learn more and excited to begin my summer internship at Charity Navigator.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Telling Your Story Using the 990

Tax forms are not the most exciting documents, and the IRS Form 990 is no exception. In my role as Senior Program Analyst at Charity Navigator, I’ve reviewed thousands of 990s. I can definitely say that there’s only so many ways to make “Did the organization contemporaneously document the meetings held or written actions undertaken during the year by the governing body?” an engaging experience for the reader.

At Charity Navigator, we sift through the data provided in these forms to construct a financial and governance narrative for thousands of organizations, and this is reflected in the ratings available on our site. While our ratings provide donors a snapshot of an organization’s financial health and adherence to good governance practices, the rating itself does not tell an organization’s whole story. We look to supplement this narrative by providing mission statements, program accomplishments, and other information that is publicly available to donors. One oft-overlooked place for an organization to better tell its own story is none other than the 990 itself, and here’s how!

Monday, August 12, 2019

Take Back Control of Your Mailbox Today

Does it ever feel like your mailbox is just a place for bills, coupon packs, and charity solicitations to call home? You’re not alone. We heard from a number of donors who were curious about why they receive so much charity “junk mail” and how they can get it to stop.

Here are our tips for taking back control of your mailbox...

Thursday, August 8, 2019

It's 2019. Why are we looking at 2017 990s?

When looking at the ratings on the Charity Navigator website, you’ll see the fiscal year for the most recent IRS Form 990 that a charity’s rating is based on.  Currently, in most cases, you will see a fiscal year-end date from 2017.  Being that it’s now 2019, you may be thinking that a rating using 2017 data is extremely outdated.  But, there is more to this story.